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frustrated and stressed out teenager. emotional maturity and academic ability out of sync?

(11 Posts)
1Jules1 Sat 11-Jul-09 14:52:35

My ds took to high school like a duck to water giving all classes 100%. Over the last few months he's been coming home often close to tears saying he's frustrated with the slow, repetitive class work and 'mucking about' of other kids. He has a fantastic report for the end of this first year at high school but he obviously is not happy. He says he's not working his hardest and can do much better but is letting his frustration literally exhaust him and has recently been having 'headaches' and 'stomach aches' in class when he's feeling tense.

The guidance staff and school nurse are trying to be supportive but say they already differentiate classes and want him to see Ed Psy.

My gut feeling is DS needs :

1 techniques to chill out and calm down
2 poss a faster paced or stretched curriculum

Any help or advice anyone can give will be appreciated

ps am considering talking to GP to make sure no other health issues

cory Sat 11-Jul-09 16:02:25

What is high school like- I take it this is in Scotland? I was wondering, because by dd is in English secondary school and they seem to do a lot of projects and essay writing, where you simply don't have the option of getting bored- if you don't write your project to PhD standard that's up to you, there's no upper limit. So in a school like that, he'd have no excuse.

You see what I'm getting at- have you checked with your ds that he is actually getting as much as he could out of each task? Is he doing it as carefully as possible, is he doing the extra research etc?

Another possibility if he is academically very able- could you encourage him to do an extra-curricular course. Dd is planning to do a GCSE in German, using online material, and I've said if she sticks to it, we'll engage a tutor nearer the day.

But first of all I'd have a word with this teacher and ask to have a look at his work.

cory Sat 11-Jul-09 16:06:12

How does he approach his homework (a situation where he doesn't have the excuse of other kids mucking around)? Does he do the bare minimum or does he go the extra mile?

1Jules1 Sun 12-Jul-09 09:01:30

He's had class talks in English and a talk in French about his family. He really seemed to enjoy preparing for these at home and definately went the extra mile but other homework is more short definate answers or filling in missing words so not much room for expansion.

Maybe I should ask the school for more detail about differentiation? Also ds is a perfectionist and I think he needs to learn to take risks on his own and not worry about failure but I'm not sure what kind of activities would allow for that.

In primary he was used almost as a classroom assistant to explain things to other pupils when the teacher was busy and now at high school learning support look to him if they've missed something while assisting others so now ds is starting to become intolerant and just wants to study for himself at his pace

I had thought of letting him do a subject at home maybe a science because his school can only provide 2 at a time but it's quite daunting. (and expensive)

cornsilk Sun 12-Jul-09 09:07:13

Is he in the top sets?

1Jules1 Sun 12-Jul-09 12:14:47

He's top or very near top in all classes but they are mixed ability except for math where he's in a small recently set up group doing more advanced work.

bruffin Sun 12-Jul-09 15:02:31

Do you know when they actually set/stream at his school?

1Jules1 Sun 12-Jul-09 15:17:19

At the end of S2 when they choose the subjects they want for standard grades. I've heard everything cranks up a gear then but that's a whole year away....

They did consider moving him up a year but we all (teachers, parents and ds)think that's not a good idea (he's a bit too emotional and also ds older sibling would be in same class) so it's been shelved.

I'm thinking some extra activities at home might be the way to go...

cornsilk Sun 12-Jul-09 20:22:38

Do they have any clubs at school? Extra activities at home may well stretch him but will he miss out on social/relaxation time?

1Jules1 Mon 13-Jul-09 14:23:11

He goes to a couple of clubs (basket ball and circuits)after school but they're not held very regularly. I asked about possibility of a science club but unfortunately the science teachers are fully stretched. They did however suggest ds could set up a new club (anything really) and they could provide a location (probably not staffing or funds).

So, we're putting thinking caps on over hols and trying to find some good ideas that will be interesting and fun for kids and also that they can do by themselves because we don't just want to hand them stuff to do. We'd like them to figure things out and learn to organise themselves.

I came across "Odyssey of the Mind" and am trying to get some more info. Anybody heard of it?

arionater Mon 13-Jul-09 20:34:56

Does he have any ideas himself about what might help? I think you're right to concentrate on him learning techniques to calm down and feel less anxious/frustrated; but for some bright children at least it is really hard to do this without some extra stimulation as well - at least something to look forward to and really engage with intellectually. I was unbearably frustrated at school at that sort of age, and while I do think some help with my general emotional maturity/sense of perspective etc would have been useful, what eventually really helped was starting to have some lessons out of school. It meant that the dissatisfaction of school life didn't "matter" as much.

Could you consider a tutor for him to pursue a topic or subject that doesn't overlap with school? (a new language, for instance; or something like astronomy). Clubs/groups based around other sorts of skills - e.g. sport or music - also maybe a good idea.

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